Another Four Are Home

| October 27, 2019

DPAA has identified and accounted for the following formerly-missing US personnel.

From World War II

Pvt Channing Whitaker, USMC Reserve, assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, was lost on Tarawa on 22 November 1943. His accounting was announced on 25 October 2019.

PVT William Hedtke, US Army, assigned to B Battery, 319th Glider Artillery Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, was lost in The Netherlands on 18 September 1944. His accounting was announced on 25 October 2019.

From Korea

SGT James E. Smith, Jr., US Army, assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, was lost in North Korea on 22 October 1950. His accounting was announced on 22 October 2019.

CPL William L. Brown, US Army, assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, was lost in North Korea on 2 December 1950. His accounting was announced on 25 October 2019.

From Southeast Asia

None

Welcome back, elder brothers-in-arms. Our apologies that your return took so long.

Rest easy. You’re home now.

. . .

Over 72,000 US personnel remain unaccounted for from World War II; over 7,600 US personnel remain unaccounted for from the Korean War; over 1,500 remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia (SEA); 126 remain unaccounted for from the Cold War; 5 remain unaccounted for from the Gulf Wars; and 1 individual remains unaccounted for from Operation Eldorado Canyon. Comparison of DNA from recovered remains against DNA from some (but not all) blood relatives can assist in making a positive ID for unidentified remains that have already been recovered, or which may be recovered in the future.

On their web site’s Contact Us page DPAA now has FAQs. One of those FAQs describes who can and cannot submit DNA samples useful in identifying recovered remains. The chart giving the answer can be viewed here. The text associated with the chart is short and is found in one of the FAQs.

If your family lost someone in one of these conflicts and you qualify to submit a DNA sample, please arrange to submit one. By doing that you just might help identify the remains of a US service member who’s been repatriated but not yet been identified – as well as a relative of yours, however distant. Or you may help to identify remains to be recovered in the future.

Everybody deserves a proper burial. That’s especially true for those who gave their all while serving this nation.

Category: No Longer Missing

Comments (4)

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  1. Sparks says:

    Welcome home Brothers. Rest in peace in your home soil.

  2. RGR 4-78 says:

    Welcome Home.

  3. 5th/77th FA says:

    Welcome Home Warriors. We Salute your Service and pay Honors to your Sacrifice. Our apologies that it took so long’

    Did a quick Google Foo search on the 319th GFAR. They were the FIRST Airborne FA Rgmt to fire missions in support of WWII. They were the only FA Rgmt picked by Col Darby to fire in support of his Rangers during the Italian Campaign. Due to losses of their howitzers in crashes they fought as infantry during Normandy. They fired nearly 35K rounds in support of Market Garden and helped to capture the Nijmegen Bridge. PVT Hedtke prolly lost his life doing his duty and serving the guns. Slow Hand Salute!

    Thanks Hondo.